Aledo is the kind of program it’s easy to hate from the outside. They have an indoor facility, a beautiful stadium complete with color coordinated seat backs, a great field house and an upper middle class student body from nice two parent families. Coaches from less affluent areas are often resentful of the advantages they feel programs like this have. People outside of Texas see places like Aledo as a stereotypical big school program with misplaced priorities; the epitome of the excess they believe exists in Texas. But like most things, first impressions don’t survive a deeper look.
A few things to know about Aledo;
-The new high school was built in 2000 with no athletic facilities, the football team had to go to the old stadium on at the old HS,, now a middle school to play, the stadium was small and not excessive in any way. A separate bond issue was passed in 2006 to build an on-campus stadium. The home side of the stadium holds 5000 people and is generally full.
-A plaza area was build just inside the entrance for other Aledo programs to set up booths and fundraise for their programs.
-The football budget would be modest in many other states. Aledo football players must pay for their own shoes and team meals. Unlike many schools one booster club represents all sports at Aledo.
-The significant gate receipts do not go to football or even athletics, but into the general fund that pays for such things as teachers salaries.
-With just over 1500 students, around 250 play football, but 300 are in the band and Aledo is well rounded enough to compete for the Lone Star Cup every year, a competition that takes into account all the athletic and academic programs a school offers.
Yes, Aledo has a lot of advantages over some places, but that wasn’t always the case. The program was built up by hard work, not inherited. When Coach Buchanan took over in 1993, Aledo had a struggling 3A program with substandard facilities and a history of losing. The powerhouse you see at Aledo was largely earned not bought, and the rise of Aledo football has only helped the other programs at the school.
I’ve thrown out this challenge before, but if somebody can find something wrong with this model for a quality, comprehensive high school, please feel free to write a comment on this blog.